Cisco Live 2016 Wrap-up

Cisco Live Sign

The 2016 Cisco Live convention has just wrapped up, and I felt I should write a post-convention article as my own cathartic way of sending it out with a bow on top. It’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts this time, as the convention was held in Las Vegas. While the adage that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas may or may not be true, the hangovers and weariness certainly follow you home, and certainly slow down the writing.


This year, the conference was held inside the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and though the convention center is huge, we managed to fill it. In fact, as is the way every year, there are increasing numbers of people attending, with this year hitting around the 30,000 mark. Believe me, you could feel the crush of people. Walking in and out of keynotes, heading to lunch, and a few other times, it seemed like 5pm on the freeways in Los Angeles—as in, can’t get there from here. The staff at Cisco, and the staff at Mandalay Bay are very professional, so while the numbers of people may have been prohibitive at first blush, everything worked well, and we all were able to get where we were going, eventually. I do wonder what the average partygoer in Vegas thought being constantly surrounded by massive amounts of people wearing badges with varying levels of flair—most likely very bemused.


On another note, I have to say that the check-in process this year was by far the best I have experienced at any convention I have been to. While my case is no doubt an anomaly due to checking in at an odd time, I was very happy that the entire process took less than 5 minutes. Because Cisco moved to a pre-registration setup, where you checked in ahead of time and received a QR code, the process was significantly sped up. I walked up to the front, they scanned the code from my email, verified identity, and handed me my badge. Everyone I spoke to during the week had a similar experience, and agreed that registration this year was stellar.


I cannot comment on any of the sessions directly, as I did not attend any, though anecdotally I heard that they were as impressive and insightful as always. I came on a social pass this year, primarily because I had so many commitments that I knew I would likely not have time for any sessions. Cisco brings out their best speakers, subject matter experts, and customers every year, and this year was no different. There were many panels on a range of subjects, short two-hour sessions focusing on a given technology or product, and half or full day “techtorials” where a very granular, largely hands-on, subject was explored.


This year also saw the return of the very popular “hackathon,” which draws teams of programmers into the convention early—it begins on Saturday—for a 24-hour contest of coding chops. The contestants are given a subject (this year it was on preventing the declining bee population,) and told to contribute their best solution to the problem. The winners receive a monetary prize, and their solution is displayed for attendees to view. This event continues to grow, and with the movement of software coding into the realm of network engineering, I am confident it will grow even bigger next year.


There are always a lot of ancillary events at the conference, and as a Tech Field Day delegate, I am privileged to have been involved with the Tech Field Day Extra events this year. This is always a great place to see newly announced and emerging technologies, ask a lot of questions, and report back out to the community at large. It is something I am always grateful to be a part of, and it provides a valuable service to both the presenters and the viewers of the live stream or recorded videos. This year we heard from Opengear, Glue Networks, Veeam, and Cisco. I will be writing more on that later, so stay tuned for a series of articles recapping those presentations.


All in all, there are too many things that go on during the week for me to adequately describe in one blog post. I see great friends I only see once or twice a year, I met new friends, and I even sat in on a couple of live podcasts—one in which I was made to participate. There were many, many late nights, along with the predictable slow mornings, but it is always worth it nevertheless. Cisco Live is a conference I haven’t missed in seven plus years, and one I will not miss at any point in the future. If you attended this year, you know what I mean, and if you did not attend, make it a point to do so next year. You will not be disappointed. Just to make it easy, here’s the upcoming schedule:

  • Las Vegas, June 26 – 29, 2017
  • Orlando, June 10 – 14, 2018
  • San Diego, June 9 – 13, 2019
  • Las Vegas, May 31 – June 4, 2020
  • Las Vegas, June 6 – 10, 2021
  • Orlando, June 12 – 16, 2022


Also, check out a friend of mine’s blog on this year’s event, complete with pictures. She did what I failed to do this year, which is to capture many pictures of the event.

802Tophat_2016-Jul-13 cantechit_2016-Jul-12 IMG_20160714_205208 Cisco Live Closing Picture


Cisco Announces VIRL on Cloud

Cisco just announced today that their VIRL product, formerly only available in a personal edition, and an enterprise edition, will be available in a cloud hosted version soon. This new version will remove a major barrier to adoption, which is the need for horsepower. Now you’ll be able to spin up workloads separate from your own hardware, but still access them as if they were local. Anyone with a valid VIRL license will be able to access this service.

Details of the new release will be announced formally on the VIRL website and social media platforms on 2/16. There will also be a webinar on 2/23 to share more about the collaborator for this effort, and to walk folks through the setup.

I really wish I could say more, but suffice it to say that this new version has the potential to be a game changer in the world of network simulations, training, proof of concept development, and in myriad other use cases. Stay tuned.

ZeroStack – Simplified and Automated OpenStack

ZeroStack Logo

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Virtualization Field Day 6


I’m sitting here watching an episode of Top Gear as I write this, and waxing contemplative on my recent invitation to both a Tech Field Day one-day event and Virtual Field Day 6. Both are being held in the same week, later in November, and both are … [Continue reading]

Cisco Live US 2015 Customer Appreciation Event Band


I just wanted to post a quick announcement around the band for Cisco Live this year. This is usually a hotly contested issue in the community, with Cisco often letting attendees vote, and most of us look forward to the decision each year. Well, most … [Continue reading]

A Wendy’s Cheeseburger, Hepburn on my iPhone, and cancer

Audrey Hepburn

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Packet Pushers Podcast and Network Field Day 7


“I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done.” Susan Orlean Network Field Day 7 has long since come and gone, and it occurs to me that I haven’t yet written … [Continue reading]

The Writing Process as Photography


I'm currently working on multiple writing projects, as well as looking forward to beginning a new, different gig tomorrow, so my office is a bit messy.  With all the books and studies seeming to point toward messy, cluttered offices as proof positive … [Continue reading]

Choice or the Illusion of Choice


I recently wrote an article for searchSDN at TechTarget on the subject of choice in the SDN markets.  The gist of the article was that from a marketing perspective one of the most effective strategies in a cluttered market is to reduce the consumer's … [Continue reading]